Book Details + Condition: Uncommon first edition from 1855 of George Pickering's THE HISTORY OF HEN FEVER: A HUMOROUS RECORD. In good condition: shelfwear present to boards; binding is tight; rubbed corners and edges; old pencil notes on endpaper, with former owner's name in old pencil on the following page; remaining of text pages are free of markings, save sporadic foxing, and heavy foxing on a handful of pages. Please see pictures for more condition details. From The Weird Historian website: In the 1840s, a young Queen Victoria began a most curious chicken craze.
One of her most unique breeds arrived in 1843 from China: the Cochin. It’s a tall bird with soft, fluffy feathers and slender legs that can weigh up to 11 pounds. Victoria was smitten with the chicken, and her poultry collection grew. According to the Illustrated London News, "Her Majesty’s collection of fowls is very considerable, occupying half-a-dozen very extensive yards, several small fields, and numerous feeding-houses, laying-sheds, hospitals, winter courts, &c." As word spread of her wondrous hens, Victorians everywhere fancied fancy chickens. Some were said to have sold for what would be the equivalent of $10,000 today. The excitement spread to America as well, with poultry shows offering extraordinary exhibitions with the country’s finest fowl. Shortly after this trend of raising ornamental chickens, George P. Burnham wrote The History of Hen Fever: A Humorous Record. In the book, published in 1855, Burnham offers [exaggerated illustrations].... He continued his history of hen fever, remarking "Never in the history of modern ‘bubbles,’ did any mania exceed in ridiculousness or ludicrousness, or in the number of its victims surpass this inexplicable humbug.